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MWC notebook: SDSU enjoying packed arena

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 15 2011 5:46 p.m. MST

Fans are flocking to No. 6 ranked San Diego State basketball games in record numbers.

Viejas Arena used to be a nice arena with many empty seats. It is now the rage and more than 2,500 students camped out for tickets to today's game with New Mexico.

A full arena is a luxury Aztecs coach Steve Fisher appreciates because he remembers when bodies of San Diego State fans were scarce at his games. Now there are funny signs, painted faces and screaming students who look like the Cameron Crazies at Duke.

"Not having fans in the stands was not as frustrating as not winning," said Fisher of his early days at SDSU. "You win, you put fans in the stands."

The Aztecs are regularly sellout out games. It is a new thing.

"They're spoiled at New Mexico," said Fisher of the famed Pit a "Until you go on the road and see, they (New Mexico) has a rare breed of fan; they are there win on lose."

The sellouts started happening the past several seasons. "But it wasn't to the degree we have it now. It's been great in terms of our students, our faculty and our community," said Fisher.

SDSU has a 17-game home win streak which is tied for the seventh nationally. The last home loss came Jan. 23, 2010 to BYU.

GETTING RESPECT: SDSU and BYU are ranked in the Top-10 of both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Coaches' polls for the fifth consecutive week. The Aztecs are No. 6 in both rankings, while the Cougars sit at No. 7 in the AP poll and No. 8 on the Coaches' list. The Mountain West joins the Big East and Big 12 as the only three conferences to have multiple teams ranked in the Top-10 of both polls for five straight weeks. Colorado State and UNLV continue to receive votes in the AP poll.

EVEN COMPUTERS LIKE THEM: BYU is ranked No. 2 in the latest NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) report, while San Diego State is listed at No. 5. For the second straight week, the MWC is the only conference with two teams ranked in the Top-5 of the RPI. Overall, the MWC has four teams ranked in the Top-40 of the RPI, with UNLV (30) and Colorado State (38) joining the Cougars and Aztecs.

GOOD ON THE ROAD: Of the 10 teams ranked at the top of this week's national polls, BYU and San Diego State have played the most games away from their respective home courts. The Cougars are 13-2 in 15 games outside of the Marriott Center, including an 8-1 mark in true road games. The Aztecs hold a 13-1 record in 14 contests away from Viejas Arena, including a 9-1 tally on their opponents' home courts. Georgetown is next on the list with 13 road/neutral-site contests, followed by Duke (11), Kansas (10), Notre Dame (10), Pittsburgh (10), Texas (10), Wisconsin (10) and Ohio State (9).

e-mail: dharmon@desnews.com

TWITTER: harmonwrites

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